Elmhurst man caught in crossfire of shooting in Loop; Incident wounds two in Chicago Theater District

By Dee Longfellow

An Elmhurst resident was shot and wounded in downtown Chicago near the Theater District last week.

Ryan Bush, a Nederlander Theater stagehand, along with a fellow stagehand from Elmhurst, had just departed the theater late Sunday afternoon, May 1, when they heard gunfire, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bush told the Sun-Times he observed two persons running down the alley westbound toward State Street and that someone was shooting at them.

The stagehand who Bush was with, a 55-year-old Elmhurst man, was struck in the crossfire by gunfire in the neck and right ear, according to the Sun Times. Another bystander was also struck in the hand, according to Chicago police.

Both of the injured men were transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition. That evening’s performance of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” was canceled at the Nederlander Theater.

Later, according to the Sun Times, police said the shooting stemmed from a drug deal that had apparently gone wrong at a Taco Bell restaurant in the 100 block of North Wabash Street at about 5 p.m. Two groups had met at the restaurant and someone in the group “implied a weapon” and robbed the others, police told the Sun Times.

At a news conference on Monday, May 2, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said the following:

“The people who were robbed took out a firearm and started discharging at the individuals who took something from them.”

Deenihan described the shooting victims as “unintended targets,” the Sun Times reported.

According to the Sun Times, a bartender at the Chicago Theatre—near where the incident took place—said he had seen three males running through the alley, when he heard a couple of “pops.”

The bartender told police he hid between the trash cans and saw someone fire a handgun twice. The shooter later ditched his jacket near the State/Lake Red Line stop, according to a police report.

At press time, no one was yet in custody, but Deenihan said police were reviewing video to track down the suspects.

Bush later told the Sun Times he had gratefully received a text message from the Elmhurst man, who was on the mend at the hospital.

“He’s a great guy, stagehand, [who’s] been in the business for 30-plus years,” Bush said of the Elmhurst resident, adding that he was a grandfather who was “just looking to retire.”

The Elmhurst resident remained unidentified at press time.